Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Best of Spring Asparagus Risotto

The Best of Spring Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus is at its peak right now and the markets are flooded with huge quantities of this amazing vegetable. I am even getting some nice spears from my garden after only being planted last year. Tonight I chose to make a risotto with asparagus, yellow onion and pancetta. A trick I have for intense flavor and color is to blanch the asparagus first and rapid cool with ice water. Cut the tender tips off for adding to the risotto later in the final cooking stage, for the rest of the stalks combine with a dash of water or stock in a blender and puree till smooth, use this bright green liquid at the very end for a boost of flavor and color.

1/2 cup Arborio rice
1 T Yellow onion, diced
1 Garlic clove
1-2 oz Pancetta
1 bunch asparagus
2 cups water or stock
Pat of Butter
Dash olive oil

1. Blanch asparagus till tender, shock in ice water*.
2. Cut tips off, reserve.
3. Blend the rest of the stalks with water or stock.
4. Gently cook the pancetta, onion, garlic and rice in olive oil till translucent.
5. Add simmering seasoned water or stock little by little till rice is almost tender.
6. Add reserved asparagus tips and puree to rice, continue cooking till done and creamy.
7. Off the heat add a pat of butter and stir in, Parmesan cheese can be added if desired.

* If you jumped in ice water, you would be in shock too, it stops the cooking rapidly and retains the bright green color

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